Gallbladder Problems: A Guide to the Symptoms, Causes, and Treatments

The gallbladder is a small, sac-like organ found just under the liver. This organ’s function is to store the bile produced by the liver and to send that to the small intestine to help with the chemical degradation of food. The bile breaks down the fat component of the consumed food, which allows for the easier absorption of the fat-soluble vitamins and other nutrients into the body.


This article focuses on common gallbladder problems such as the complications, what causes them, and what the symptoms are. All are important if you are thinking of consulting with a gallbladder specialist in Singapore.

Common Symptoms of Gallbladder Problems


The most common symptom is pain present in the upper right section of the abdomen because this is where the gallbladder is. However, in more severe cases, the pain may spread up to the middle of the abdomen, even the lower part of the right shoulder blade. Other symptoms to look out for are pain that has been present for 5 of more hours, and pain that worsens after having a meal


Most patients with gallbladder problems complain of worsening pain that feels either sharp or resembles a cramp. And they often feel this after eating a fatty meal.


Aside from abdominal pain, other noticeable symptoms are: – nausea or vomiting – fever with chills – an unusual colour in the stool (appears much lighter than normal) – and a darker colour in the urine


What May Have Caused It


Most gallbladder problems are caused by gallstones, cholangitis, pancreatitis, and cholecystitis. If the pain is in the upper-right or middle abdomen, this could be due to any of the following:


1) a blockage in the ducts due to gallstones 2) inflammation and infection of the surrounding tissues; due to either a partial or complete blockage of the ducts.




Also called cholelithiasis, this condition is characterized by the presence of solid crystalline precipitates that form in the biliary tract. The bile is composed of calcium, cholesterol, and bilirubin, all of which can precipitate and form gallstones. The gallstones can block the normal flow of bile to the small intestine.




From the word itself, this condition is characterised by the inflammation of the bile duct. Bacterial infection normally causes this due to the micro flora present in the stagnant bile. This could also be a complication due to gallstones that block the passage of bile, making it more stagnant than normal.




Pancreatitis is also another complication caused by gallstones. Due to the blockage of the bile duct, enzymes produced by the pancreas that is supposed to mix with the bile and go to the small intestine are forced to travel back to the pancreas. This irritates the pancreas, which leads to inflammation.




Much like pancreatitis and cholangitis, this condition is also commonly caused by the formation of gallstones. Cholecystitis is the inflammation of the gall bladder. When there is a blockage in the bile duct, bile that is supposed to travel to the small intestine becomes trapped in the gallbladder. The excess bile builds up, and this leads to irritation, inflammation, and in some cases, even infection.


Commonly, the gallbladder is not given much attention compared to other organs of the body. However, once a problem occurs, it is usually because there is an underlying problem. It that causes pain and discomfort and requires immediate medical attention.

Symptoms to look out for are nausea, vomiting, changes in the colour of stool and urine. If you experience a combination of any of these symptoms, seek help from a gallbladder specialist in Singapore immediately. Aside from these, another common symptom is a pain in the upper right or middle abdomen.


Mild pain that comes and goes should not be a cause for immediate concern, but it is still advisable to schedule a doctor’s appointment for a check-up.